Schools may remain open during July/August to address worrying learning loss/gaps – Education Minister

Schools at all levels are now fully reopened with the Grade Seven and the Year One nursery pupils turning out today for their first day of classes. The other grades returned to school on April 25, 2022, and April 28, 2022, due to the Ministry of Education’s decision to have a phased reopening.

Today, the Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand visited schools to see how the students, teachers and staff are coping with a full return to school. Based on initial observation, the Education Minister said that schools may need to remain open during the July/August period when schools are usually closed. She said that this might be necessary to cater for the learning loss/gaps that students are suffering from due to being away from school for close to two years due to the pandemic.

The Honourable Minister of Education, Priya Manickchand engaging Grade Seven students at Queen’s College today

Minister Manickchand said that many persons do not fully appreciate the impact that school closures have had on children. She said, “We have to find ways to ensure that these children get exposed to the hours of education that they need, that we have parents that are interested and their attitudes are right. We may have to work into July/August.”

She explained that diagnostic assessments have been done to know where students are academically relative to where they need to be so that teachers will know how to engage them in the classroom. Additionally, Minister Manickchand explained that the Ministry produced a consolidated curriculum to have students exposed to what they would have learnt in their previous year. She said that of the 40 weeks of engagement, the first 20 weeks will be dedicated to content a student should have done in their previous grade/class and the final 20 weeks will focus on what they should be learning in their current grade/class.

“Those changes are necessary if we’re not to be suffering from the effects of COVID five years from now. What we have seen academically is worrying and parents need to pay attention to what we are asking of them so that they can make sure their children are benefitting from the kind of accelerated learning that we need at this stage,” the Education Minister noted.

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